The Cloud

To me, the cloud is not something that hosts all of my data, or remotely serves my assets, or provides processing power. The cloud, to me, is the cloud of friends and acquaintances I’ve added on Facebook over the years.

They end up blending into an amorphous blob of comments and likes, with a few particularly individualistic nodules. Probably a third of my 1,600 or so connections tune in to what I post. A small fraction of that interacts with (likes or comments) my posts. And then I reshare news from an even tinier portion of people who make the news.

Some people tune into what I post and some don’t. I can tell because FB changes what it displays based on what you interact with so some people interact with my posts more and FB leads them to interact more and more with the stuff I post. When I friend someone, I can tell if I’ve drawn them in based on the frequency of their initial reactions to the stuff I post.

That effect has been called the Filter Bubble, meaning that Facebook shows us all what we like to see, judging by how much we interact with it. That means the few influencers whose news I reshare are people who I tend to agree with on what’s interesting. The upside is that I see a lot of what I think is interesting. The downside is that I don’t see a lot of dissenting opinions. I’m sure that of the 1,600 people I’m connected with, a far greater portion of them share content† than the few influencers I follow, but they probably share crap I don’t care about or don’t agree with.

It’s incredibly strange, but, like a composite of faces, my friends on Facebook blend into just a few stand-ins for human interactions – Likes, Comments, Shares, and Wall Posts. A few people do some of those things more than others, but if they stopped, it would just be like a cloud formation melting away. No tragedy. No loss. Just a shifting of the algorithm.

And I just can’t take it right now. So I’m shifting the algorithm and taking myself out of the equation for a bit.

ADDENDUM – Chat with Jen Chan

Me: I just thought of something
Me: at some level, FB’s Likes, Comments, Shares, and Wall Posts are disturbing to me
Me: they are a stand-in for human interaction
Me: But I don’t count chat as being a stand-in [editor’s note: I meant I am okay with Facebook or any other chat system]
Me: I think it’s the difference between multiple choice questions and an essay. Given any applicant for an open position in a company, I would prefer the one with the well-written essay to the one with the perfect resume.
Me: It gives you much more of an idea of what [sic] they are as a person. There’s no pre-set actions that they can take.

† a loathsome word, but nothing else is sufficiently generic enough to stand in for a link, block of text, photo, video, or any combination thereof.